Community Events to engage the head, heart, & hands

Archive for February, 2011

Douglas Gerwin on Cultivating Imagination

Root, Shoot, and Fruit:
Cultivating Imagination in Childhood & Adolescence

Wednesday, March 2 at 7:30 pm

A Presentation for parents and friends
by Douglas Gerwin, Director of the Center for Anthroposophy, Wilton, NH

Children typically go through three major phases along the path of their development, starting with birth and early childhood, passing through the elementary years, and culminating with puberty and adolescence. During each of these developmental phases they learn in radically different ways, partly for reasons of their changing physiology––including the maturation of the brain––and partly because of their burgeoning inner life.

A Waldorf program responds to these inner and outer changes by helping children unfold their nascent capacities. Chief of these is the imagination as a faculty of cognition. Imagination can be trained to perceive truth and reality just as effectively as rational intellectuality. Out of childhood imagination, cultivated in the lower school, arise in the high school teenager those crucial abilities to weigh, to assess, and to arrive at truth.

Through examples drawn from the artistic as well as the academic curriculum, we will explore in a practical way what it means to learn “from the inside of things” rather than to be instructed about them from the outside.

Douglas Gerwin, Director of the Center for Anthroposophy, has taught history, literature, German, music, and life science at the Waldorf high school level since 1983. He presently divides his time between adult education and teaching in various North American Waldorf schools. Douglas is the founder of the Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program at the Center for Anthroposophy and editor of several books related to Waldorf education.

Parent/Child Program featured on CBS 2 News!

News segment airs Tuesday March 1st at 10pm

Today the children in our youngest program were featured in a special profile segment being developed by CBS (channel 2) Network News & WBBM News Radio. News anchor Mary Kay Kleist brought a cameraman and visited one of our Parent/Child classrooms. Ms. Kleist interviewed parents, children, and Waldorf teacher, Susan Bruck, about the special qualities of the Waldorf approach to support child development from infant through 3 year old phases of growth and learning.

CBS2 news had been researching a story on the value of programs that foster child socialization and focus on the will and independence of the child. Their investigations led them to the Waldorf Parent-Child program as an exemplary model that recognizes and fosters the child’s growing free will to explore, determine and effect their environment.

Sitting around a finely appointed table watching the children forming—and then eating—hand-made fresh baked bread, Mary Kay Kleist, recognized the CWS program as an extraordinary model that demonstrated constructive, engaged interactions between the children and adults. “This is one of the only programs we’ve found in the Midwest that mirrors the Resource Infant Educare programs on the West coast that we were inspired by,” Ms. Kleist said. “Waldorf is special—just like these programs—in that you treat the child like a real individual with choices and self-agency; and not just an object to be carried around and spoon-fed to.”

We are very proud to be receiving national attention and recognition for our Parent/Child program. If you are interested to see the full news report, it will be aired this Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 in the Channel 2 CBS Network News program that starts at 10pm.

Please tell your friends to tune in as well! Tuesday, March 1st at 10pm / Channel 2 News

If you are interested in learning more about our Parent/Child program, please contact program coordinator, Jennifer Zielinski at

CWS Student Swimmers Charge for State Sectionals

Qualifying Swim Meet: Saturday, Feb 19th

State Sectionals: Friday & Saturday, Feb. 25th & 26th

Come and cheer for ARMEL CAZEDEPATS and KEVEN HENLEY as they swim in IHSA State Sectionals representing the Chicago Waldorf High School! This weekend they will be competing to qualify for State Sectionals at the Illinois High School Association swimming meet which takes place at Evanston High School (map) on Saturday, February 19th.

They could advance to the State Finals Swim Meet the next weekend—Friday, February 25th at New Trier High School in Wilmette (map) for Preliminary events and Saturday, February 26th for Finals.

Imagine having two swimmers from our school compete at such a high level. This is the THIRD YEAR Keven has competed for the Chicago Waldorf High School in State Sectionals. They both train with the Evanston YWCA FLYING FISH all year round.

All are invited to come cheer them on!

Building Intentional Community Discussion

Friday, Feb 18th, at 8:15am

at Commons on the Corner

Look into the fire behind Building Intentional Community (BIC)
at the Commons on the Corner. February, 18th after drop-off.

BIC & Student Social Action Council (SSAC) cultivate and nurture an environment of mutual respect and inclusion, implementing practical strategies for building agreement and creating a healthy social environment.

Come find out more about the work, share stories, ask questions, and meet some of the team.

Senior Projects are approaching…

2010-11 Senior Project Presentation Week

The twelve-year Waldorf curriculum has been compared to a climb up a spiral staircase inside a tall tower. In first grade the students enter through the ground level door and wind their way upwards. Each year provides a higher window and a different perspective on the outside world. In their senior year, the students arrive at the summit of the tower and step out onto the roof and view the entire vista stretching out far beyond them.

The senior year at a Waldorf school is designed to be a synthesis of the students’ education and a preparation for their next step in life. The senior curriculum leads the students through a study of the human being’s relationship with the world while synthesizing the high school themes of phenomenological, comparative and analytical thinking.

A highlight of the senior year is the senior project. Towards the end of their junior year, the students pick a topic for independent study. Reading and research begins during the summer months and culminates in March of the senior year with an oral presentation before classmates, faculty, friends and family. The completed project also includes a research paper and an artistic or technical component. An array of the students’ papers and artistic/technical work is on display in the back of the auditorium throughout Senior Project Presentation Week.

This year’s seniors will present their projects Monday, March 7-Friday, March 11 in the Chicago Waldorf School Auditorium. Topics range from Combat Trauma: Brain Chemistry and PTSD to The History and Zen of Motorcycles. You are warmly invited to Chicago Waldorf School’s Senior Project Presentation Week. We hope you’ll join us in celebrating the culmination of many months of work! Lively Q&A sessions follow each presentation. Its a great way to see–and support–the expert knowledge our seniors are sharing with the community.

Monday, March 7

  • 10:45 Welcome
  • 11:00-12:00 Naomi Muskovin Combat Trauma: Brain Chemistry and PTSD (Grade 9 and up)
  • 1:00-1:45 Nick Park-Reynolds Art Theory (Grade 8 and up)
  • 2:00-2:45 Olivia Juarez Australian Aboriginal Art (Grade 6 and up)

Tuesday, March 8

  • 10:45 Preview of Day
  • 11:00-12:00 Blake Palder The Festival of Life: Chicago in the Summer of 1968 (Grade 8 and up)
  • 1:00 –1:45 Hannah Prinz The Art of Beer (Grades 9 and up)
  • 2:00 -2:45 Lena Smith Hypnosis: An Altered State of Mind (Grade 6 and up)

Wednesday, March 9

  • 10:45 Preview of Day
  • 11:00-12:00 Laura Holdrege Orphans: A Perspective (Grade 7 and up)
  • 1:00-1:45 Jackson Hallman John Muir and the Creation of the National Park System
    (Grade 6 and up)
  • 2:00 – 2:45 Elodie Betend Exploring Five Countries Through Food and Culture
    (Grade 6 and up)

Thursday, March 10

  • 10:45 Preview of Day
  • 11:00 –12:00 Silvana Poole Tarot: A Map of Divination (Grade 7 and up)
  • 1:00 –1:45 Seth Brav-McCabe Chicago Street Gangs (Grade 9 and up)
  • 2:00 –2:45 Michael Moratto 3-Dimensional Printing (Grade 8 and up)

Friday, March 11

  • 10:45 Preview of Day
  • 11:00- 11:45 Mike Wright The History and Zen of Motorcycles (Grade 7 and up)
  • 12:45-1:30 Oliver Beirne True Stories of Real Fakes; The Power of Persuasion (Grade 8 and up)
  • 1:45-2:45 Rachel Osran The Evolving Music and Artistry of the Beatles (Grade 8 and up)
  • 2:45 Closing

The Immeasurable Value of Giving

Chicago Waldorf School has declared 2010-2011: The Year of the Teacher. Our Annual Fund is focusing on an important and very special educational initiative. During The Year of the Teacher we hope to raise significant funds to support the effort to reinstate the full teacher salaries and pension for our faculty and staff that had been ceeded in cost-cutting measures in 2009. To that end we ask you to join the CWS community in giving a gift to the 2010-2011 Annual Fund to support our teachers and maintain the values we hold dear at Chicago Waldorf School.

When you make a donation to the Annual Fund, you are nurturing the initiative to support our teachers and our students. Healthy community participation in the Annual Fund demonstrates to potential investors and philanthropists that we are an actively engaged community, and that the Chicago Waldorf School deserves support from the greater community and these institutions as well. All contributions to the Annual Fund supplement the operating budget at the school, support CWS’s students and faculty, and improve the school’s programs, facilities and financial stability.

There are many ways you can make a gift.

Please contact CWS Development Director, Jackie Johnson ( or 773-828-8458) to ask about these opportunities. She can also discuss options to enhance your giving with a list of companies that offer matching gift incentives!

Finally, we thank all of the families and individuals that have already made their Annual Fund contributions. We are very grateful for all the members of our kind and benevolent community! The generous support of parents, grandparents, alumni, alumni parents and friends of Chicago Waldorf School enables us to provide a diverse student body with an education that supports the development of free-thinking, self-directed young adults eager to contribute to our world.

PTO Event: Join the Family Jam

Are you itching to make music with others?

Saturday, February 19th, from 1:00-3:00 pm

Location:The Christian Community Church
2135 W. Wilson St. (at Hamilton)

A PTO Sponsored Event

Are you looking for something fun and low-stress to do as a family on the weekends? If so, we have the perfect event for you! Once a month families of the CWS community are invited to take part in an informal musical jamming session. Bring your instruments and/or your singing voices. And bring the kids! Not musical? Not a problem, just come to hang out and listen and talk with others. This is a low-key, fun, informal gathering for people who want to hang out without stress or pressure. There is no fee for this but there is a suggested donation of 5$ per family to thank the church for letting us use their beautiful space.

For more details and to RSVP go to:

Care To Share: Phillemon’s Next Adventure

Phillemon as a graduating senior

The Care to Share Committee would like to share some very exciting news and send their heartfelt thanks to all of our community. Five years ago the Class of 2009 and the Care to Share Committee joined together to raise funds to help provide a Waldorf High School education to Phillemon Malebye in South Africa. Phillemon’s mother is a Waldorf kindergarten teacher at the Inkanyezi Waldorf school located in the shanty towns of Johannesburg. The family did not have the funds for Phillemon to attend a Waldorf High School, so they reached out for help through the Center for the Art of Living.

Care to Share had been contributing to the Inkanyezi school for several years, so Phillemon was a natural fit and the CWS students were excited to be working with a student of their age! After many bake sales, dyed silks sales, a talent show, and Care to Share tables at the Holiday Fair and May Fair, we are greatful to have been able to assist Phillemon and are proud that he has graduated and been accepted to University. Your generous donations have helped a young man achieve one of his dreams.

Please read the lovely thank you letter from McGregor Waldorf School in South Africa.

This is the ongoing work of the Care to Share Committee. Reaching out across the globe to help others achieve their dreams and goals. Looking outward is what makes us an international Waldorf School and brings the world into our community. Please keep reading Sound of Thunder for news from our committee. We also have a beautiful letter from Phillemon that is an introspective look into his deep feelings as he prepares to leave McGregor Waldorf School which has been his home for 5 years. Email Dru Muskovin if you would like a copy of his letter.

Phillemon as a freshman in 2007

If you would like to work with the Care to Share Committee – we welcome you!
Contact Dru Muskovin, Margaret McGuire, or Laura Donkel to work with us, get more information, or contribute to our efforts.

Waldorf Thunder Athletics

From Coach Rob Gill—

Middle School Girls’ Basketball games

The girls’ Varsity middle school team upset Catherine Cook Friday night. In the pursuit of the win, the girls overcame great adversity: Catherine Cook was a high seed, and they had home court advantage. The girls ended up taking second place in the conference tournament. They played a spirited game against an undefeated Near North Montessori in the championship match.

Middle School Boys’ Basketball games

Chicago Waldorf School hosted games against Ancona Thursday night. Both games were exhilarating contests that unfortunately ended in defeat for the Thunder. But the place was rockin’, as both boys’ games were very exciting!

High School

The Blizzard of 2011 led to many games being canceled last week, but the high school basketball teams were able to get in a few games:

High School Girls’ Basketball

The high school girls’ basketball team competed in their last home games, with exhilarating matches against the Stingers of St. Scholastica and the Griffins of Roycemore. The girls’ team finished their season at the Lycee Academy by losing narrowly to The Flames. The team had a slow start in November, and we are very proud on how well they finished the season. Abigail Dancey, our Head Coach, did an outstanding job developing the girls during the year, with the young women demonstrating significant gains in basketball fundamentals. In addition, the team had great overall spirit and exhibited outstanding sportsmanship.

High School Boys’ Basketball

The high school boys hosted the Lycee Academy last Friday. They almost pulled out the win playing a very energetic game. The team was weakened by top players taking ill and being unable to play in the game. The team is looking forward to playing the Lycee Academy again with their full team in the conference tournament during the first week of March.

Individual Athletes:

Armel Cazedepats will be joining Keven Henley at the Illinois High School Association swimming meet which takes place at Evanston High School on Saturday, February 19

College Acceptances Are Starting

This year 13 of our 15 graduating seniors have applied to college, university or art school. Two of our students are deferring college to pursue independent projects and travel before applying to academic programs. Some schools have already sent acceptances to our graduating seniors. Seven students have received at least one reply, although most are still awaiting answers as many colleges do not send letters of acceptance until April 1st! Our seniors have already been accepted to over 22 colleges and universities. We will publish a comprehensive list of institutions that have accepted our students in mid-April after all letters have been issued.

But until then, an early “Congratulations!” to our accepted seniors and their families.

-Diane Meinke, CWS College Counselor

Valentines Forever: Community Profile

We are proud to celebrate this profile of the grandparents
of our very own Erin Guiterrez, Assistant Manager in the business office.

Reinald and Betty Werrenrath, holding their wedding photograph.
The Evanston couple have been married for 73 years
Front Cover article for the Evanston-Review / February 8, 2011

Had online computer dating services been around in those days, Reinald and Betty Werrenrath might never have been deemed a match. After all, offered Betty during an interview at their Westminster Place retirement community in northwest Evanston, “we came from such different backgrounds. His father was a celebrity singer and I was a small-town minister’s daughter. He came from the city; I came from a town.”

If opposites attract, then, this Valentine’s Day, the Werrenrath’s union ought to be exhibit No. 1. The couple have been married 73 years and have been together 77 years, if you count when they first met at a Wells College dance in upstate New York in 1933…. (click for more)

Article continues at the Evanston Review. Written by Bob Seidenberg

Thunder Athletics-

From Coach Rob Gill-

High School Girls’ Home Basketball Games

The high school girls’ basketball team competed in its final home games last week. The Thunder had exhilarating matches against the Stingers of St. Scholastica and the Griffins of Roycemore. The High School athletes have shown major improvements throughout the year, with quality play being on display despite losses to both teams.

Middle School & High School Basketball Games

This upcoming week, the middle school boys’ and girls’ teams and high school boys’ teams will host four games and will be on the road for three games. Please check the Waldorf calendar…

Individual Athletes

In additional news: Armel Cazedepats will be joining Keven Henley at the Illinois High School Association swimming meet which takes place at Evanston High School on Saturday, February 19

Call for Trustees and Board Committee Members

The Committee on Trustees of the Board of Trustees is actively seeking individuals…

who are interested in serving as a Trustee of the Board, or as a member of a Board Committee. We are looking for talented people who are willing to take up the challenging and rewarding work of leading the school toward fulfilling its mission. These people can come from within our CWS community, or can be drawn from outside our current ranks. All qualified candidates must meet the following requirements:

• A passion for—and willingness to learn about—Waldorf Education
• An interest in furthering the Chicago Waldorf School mission
• A commitment to support the governance structure and organizational agreements
• A forward-looking, outward orientation
• A good financial standing with the Chicago Waldorf School
• A willingness to gift at a meaningful level
• A willingness to serve on committees and/or task forces
• A commitment to execute the schools Conflict of Interest Policy and Confidentiality agreement

Board Committees

  • Audit Committee- (oversight of annual audit and preparation of tax filings)
  • Development Committee- (in charge of all fundraising efforts)
  • Enrollment Committee- (supports the Director of Admissions with enrollment strategy)
  • Finance Committee- (oversight of the financial affairs of the Chicago Waldorf School)
  • Marketing Task Force- (support the work of creating a marketing strategy)
  • Permanent Campus Committee- (guiding efforts toward realizing a permanent home)

If you are interested, or you think someone you know might be just who we’re looking for, please email Cynthia Joho at We would like your suggestions by February 21st.

Thank you.

The Committee on Trustees:
Mike Motyka, President and Chair of the Board of Trustees
Cynthia Joho, Board Trustee and Chair
Frank Verciglio, PTO Liaison to the Board
Luke Goodwin, Administrative Director

A PTO Sponsored Talk with Andrea Shaffer

The Four Temperaments: Which is Your Child?

Wednesday, February 16th, 7:00pm

Location: CWS Lower Eurythmy Room
a PTO sponsored event

Q: What do the Beatles and the Winnie the Pooh characters have in common?
A: Not just plush stuffed toys made by Disney.

(Did you know that Eeyore is made to look like Ringo? And Tigger is made to look like Paul?)

But more to the point, they illustrate Steiner’s Four temperaments. It’s not hard to pick out which one is sanguine, choleric, melancholic or phlegmatic. But how do you deal with such different personalities when they live under your own roof?

Come out and listen to Andrea Shaffer, CWS faculty and parent, who has studied the temperaments so well that she can pick them out in a lineup. She will help you identify your child’s—and your own—temperament and give direction and insights into their behaviors. This is going to be a great discussion—very helpful to parents. Come receive advice in regard to how to use this information constructively at home. Just a hint: melancholics liked to be asked “Can you help Mommy with this?” Some parents report that these tips work magic in the home.

Please RSVP to save your seat with Lisa Rekstad, Parent Education Lead at

10th Grade Presents Aristophanes’ The Birds

Thursday & Friday, February 17 & 18 at 7:30 pm
In the school auditorium

This play was first produced in ancient Greece in the 5th century BC. The original production featured two Athenians who were fed up with government corruption, high taxes, a litigious society and a protracted war with Sparta (sound familiar?). These fellows hear about a legendary Athenian who has reincarnated as a bird and they go off in search his otherworldly paradise, Cloud Cuckoo Land. Their search results in a hilarious, madcap romp complete with music, dance and many surprises!

Come see the 10th grade production of this Greek classic which has been updated to the present (wherein the word, Twitter, takes on a whole new meaning…).

Recommended for grades 5 and up. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted at the door to support the 10th grade’s Service Learning Trip.